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Fostering Comfortable Spaces for Women at Nude Events (Part 1)

Saturday, December 07, 2019 12:45 PM | Anonymous

It’s no secret that in the absence of gender caps, women tend to be underrepresented at nude events. Here at Calgary Nude Recreation, we have chosen to avoid discriminatory gender caps and instead focus on creating a comfortable, welcoming environment for all people.

As a man who has been involved in the social nudity scene for many years, I do not believe that most men intend to make others feel uncomfortable. However, deliberate or not, it still happens. The point of this post is not to point blame, but to walk through some common scenarios and tips to ensure we are creating open and comfortable spaces for female attendees.

Note: Why didn’t you have a woman write this article?  We were specifically asked by a female member to write this from a man’s perspective. If you would like to offer additional commentary, we always welcome guest submissions at CalgaryNudeRecreation@gmail.com.

1. Prolonged staring, especially outside of eye level

This one is pretty obvious on the list of inappropriate behavior. Staring makes people feel uncomfortable while clothed, so imagine how much worse it can be when naked. If you are in a situation where maintaining eye contact would be awkward (i.e. not in a conversation with the person), then don’t stare at them. If you are in a conversation, then you should maintain healthy eye contact. Keeping your gaze at eye level at all times is a good habit to have.

If you really find it difficult to control your gaze, science has shown that engaging your mind with a simple math problem (e.g. adding up the digits in your phone number) can help you refocus so you can remind yourself to look elsewhere.

2. Unwanted conversation

We want everyone to feel like this is a welcoming environment where it’s possible to meet new people. We also don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being pulled into unwanted conversations.

So how do you know if the other person actually wants to talk to you, or is just being polite? If you are unsure, my advice is to limit conversation to 30-60 seconds.

After about a minute, plan to move on and tell them that you are going to try the blue waterslide (or go over to the hot tub, or into the pool, etc.) and see if they want to join. If they accept, you’re good to move on and continue your conversation. If they decline, you’ve got an easy way to remove yourself from the conversation and move elsewhere.

If they state that they are leaving to go down the blue slide (or over to the tub tub, or into the pool, etc.) without explicitly inviting you, that’s a sign they do not wish to continue the conversation. DO NOT FOLLOW THEM.

3. Inappropriate body language

Like it or not, certain body parts can still convey a sexual or threatening tone, even while nude. Body language plays a large part in this. Consider the following people sitting, but imagine them naked on the edge of the hot tub:

Neutral ways of sitting Inappropriate way of sitting

Be mindful of which attributes you’re putting “on display”. If your penis or anus are front-and-centre, or if you’re doing anything to accentuate or draw attention to them (including cock rings), it’s not helping to create a welcoming environment for anyone else.

Other poses to avoid while at nude events:


4. Touching yourself

No matter how innocent it might be intended, there is something incredibly unsettling about a man touching his penis while looking at you or talking to you. Scratching, stretching, and stroking are all on this list. I feel very unsettled experiencing that as a man, and can only imagine how much worse it could be as a woman. Always be mindful of where your hands are and consciously avoid the urge to scratch that itch within the vicinity of others.

5. Awkward "compliments"

This can sometimes be a struggle to understand, because a compliment is inherently nice, and why would something nice ever be unwelcome? The challenge lies in when compliments become creepy or vaguely threatening, which often involve referencing someone’s appearance who you don’t know well.

 Awkward/Creepy Compliments Neutral Compliments 
- You are very beautiful
- You have a pretty smile
- I love your eyes
- I think it's cool that you did __
- That's a really nice towel
- I like how passionate you are about __

If you’re having a hard time understanding the difference, imagine the biggest, burliest biker guy saying them to you. If the thought of that man in a leather jacket, leaning off his motorcycle to tell you that “you’ve got a pretty smile” feels somewhat unsettling, it’s likely going to be received the same way by a woman you don’t know.

6. Not accepting straightforward requests

Nude resorts and events are often open to all like-minded people. A byproduct of being inclusive is not screening by age, sexuality, race, socio-economic status, or physical ability, which means that attendees come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and life experiences. What may be harmless to you might be offensive or uncomfortable to someone else. If someone mentions that some part of your conduct or behaviour is not appreciated, just respect that person’s request.

You are not a dick if you aren’t able to read someone else’s mind, but you ARE a dick if you choose to continue your conduct once you have been informed.

Saying “I was just trying to be nice/friendly/etc.” is not necessary as it tries to turn the situation around on the other person and make them feel bad for speaking up. Simply thank the person for letting you know and move on.

It shows tremendous character to recognize when we’ve done something that negatively impacts others, and to make changes to try and make things better. I hope this post helps you identify problematic behaviours in yourself or those close to you. I hope it encourages men to be good allies by both consciously creating comfortable spaces around us and to speak up when we witness something inappropriate.

If you are a member of Calgary Nude Recreation, check out Part 2 of this post where we discuss how we strive to handle guest conduct at our events.

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